‘The brave men, women, and children marched on, even after knowing that an ISIS suicide bomber had just struck near Karbala the week prior’
Millions of Shia Muslims risked their lives to travel through war stricken areas to openly defy ISIS thereby making it the largest march in history of world.
Women, men, elderly, and children made their way to the city of Karbala on Sunday and Monday last week for the holy day of Arbaeen. Arbaeen is the event which marks the end of the 40-day mourning period following Ashura, the religious ritual that commemorates the death of the Prophet Mohammad’s grandson Imam Hussein in 680 AD.
They paid homage to the shrines of Imam Hussein and his half-brother Abbas in Karbala, where they were killed in a revolt against the Umayyad ruler Yazeed in the 7th century AD when they refused to pledge allegiance to Yazeed’s Umayyad caliphate.
Nearly 80 people, many of them pilgrims returning from Arbaeen in Karbala, were killed in the latest Isis attack in the area.
Isis has declared Shia Muslims apostates and targeted them in its bloody campaign to establish a hardline caliphate across Iraq and Syria, according to the Independent.
The brave men, women, and children marched on, knowing that an ISIS suicide bomber had just struck near Karbala the week prior.
In recent years, this march has taken on a dual purpose. Where it was once a march for Arbaeen, it now also encompasses the Shia resistance and protest against ISIS terrorists.
“I came walking from Basra with my wife and three sons … This is the third time. We started walking 13 days ago and reached Karbala on Sunday night,” said Pilgrim Jaber Kadhem Khalif.
To be noted, Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary group has tens of thousands of men deployed on the front lines to fight ISIS.
Umm Ali, who came without her husband, as he is currently fighting ISIS on the front lines, said, “I came with my son and two daughters. I came from Samawa to Najaf by car, then from Najaf to Karbala on foot, to make a plea for my husband’s safety.
“We ask God to support us against Daesh [ISIS] members, to help us liberate Mosul and urge our politicians to remember the people who have sacrificed so much.”
“Unfortunately [some] media outlets have gone for stories that to some extent can be divisive. If a group of Muslims does something good, it’s not mentioned or the religion is not mentioned. But if someone does something [negative], it is on the front page and their religion is mentioned,” Mohammed Al-Sharifi, a volunteer at last year’s event told the Independent.
Many of the stories on Muslims in the U.S. that make it on to the mainstream are those that stoke divide. When a Muslim hero saves hundreds of lives by jumping on a bomb which actually happened in July the Western mainstream and the Islamophobic alternative media remained silent.
Those who would judge 1.6 billion people by the actions of just a few are creating a narrative in which innocent lives are put in danger.
The courage of those who marched showed that one can either bow down to the will of ISIS by allowing their hate-filled rhetoric and divisive tactics to cloud minds with fear and hatred. Or, one can rise up and stand against those who would drive a wedge through the heart of humankind. The choice is ours.